UPDATE 1-Skanska Q4 meets forecasts but tougher times ahead

* Q4 pretax 1.26 bln SEK vs 1.30 bln seen in Reuters poll

* Proposes dividend of 6.25 SEK per share, fcast 5.25

* Sees construction revenue down 5 percent in 2010

(Adds background, CEO comment)

STOCKHOLM, Feb 5 (BestGrowthStock) – The Nordic region’s top
construction group Skanska (SKAb.ST: ) said it saw more pressure
on tight margins and further revenue declines in 2010 after
meeting forecasts for its fourth-quarter pretax profit.

Skanska, which generates most of its earnings in the Nordics
and the United States, said on Friday it expected construction
revenue to decline by 5 percent in local currencies this year as
competition remained fierce in a shrinking market.

“Although the fourth quarter showed good order bookings, we
expect continued revenue declines for construction in several of
our markets,” Chief Executive Johan Karlstrom said in a
statement.

Shares in Skanska were trading flat at 0806 GMT.

Pretax profit was 1.26 billion Swedish crowns versus a mean
forecast of 1.30 billion in a Reuters poll of analysts and a
year-ago 71 million. The year-earlier quarter was marred by 1.27
billion crowns of writedowns and provisions.

The European construction market remains weak, with low
demand for new building projects, while public construction in
Britain was seen lower for the next few years and the U.S.
market looked weak overall, the company said.

The collapse of real estate prices in many of its markets
has choked off investment in building projects and pressured
Skanska’s margins, though the firm said there were signs of life
for residential construction in the Nordic region.

Overall revenue was lower than market expectations, but
order bookings at the Swedish giant came in above expectations
at 34.2 billion Swedish crowns, compared with a forecast 33.3
billion seen in the Reuters poll.

Skanska also proposed a dividend of 6.25 Swedish crowns per
share, well above the 5.25 seen by analysts.

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(Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

UPDATE 1-Skanska Q4 meets forecasts but tougher times ahead